TOM’S ONLINE TENNIS LESSON – More Knowledge, Less Frustration
One of my students asked me why she could hit groundstrokes much better when her opponent was up at the net than when he was on the baseline. Has this ever happened to you? Your groundstroke mechanics are better when you are hitting to a net player, but when that player moves back to the baseline your mechanics deteriorate. Why?
The answer is twofold and clearly demonstrates that tennis is not a game of mechanics but a game of timing, judgment and balance. First, when you have a target (the player at the net) you have a gauge that helps to tighten up your focus and improve your aim (similar to the pin or flagstick in golf). Second, since there is less distance between you and your opponent at the net the timing, judgment and balance will be easier.
But once the player at the net moves back to the baseline, there is now more distance between you and that player. This in turn challenges your timing, judgment and balance and can throw your mechanics askew. Note: Even though your mechanics seem to be incorrect, this is not a mechanical problem. The problem is poor timing, judgment and balance which affects your technique. The solution is more practice, not more technique!
This concept is difficult to grasp for players who are mechanical and technique-minded. Your tennis strokes do not depend on mechanics. Your tennis strokes and mechanics depend on timing, judgment and balance.
Why is this critical to understand? Because anytime you change courts, play on different surfaces, move to another location or just hit groundstrokes with an opponent up at the net or on the baseline your timing, judgment and balance will be challenged and need time to adjust. If you are not aware of this concept, you will waste time attempting to fix your mechanics and remain frustrated. In your confusion you will begin wondering what has happened to your game. Now you know!
Your Tennis Pro,